Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone application submitted

Northumberland County Council has submitted an application seeking funding from the national £44m High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme (HSHAZ).
 
Part of the £675m Future High Streets Fund, and administered by Historic England, it aims to deliver physical improvements, community engagement and cultural activities to regenerate England’s struggling historic high streets and town centres.  

The scheme is looking to deliver a £2.4m programme of improvements to boost Hexham town centre. 

The zone covers Hexham town centre and is a new opportunity to drive heritage-led regeneration and commercial development.  It will focus on the Priestpopple, Cattle Market and Battle Hill area where there is a concentration of vacant properties compounded by the forthcoming closure of Beales.  

It also includes Fore St, Market Place, St Mary’s Chare, Meal Market, St Mary’s Wynd, Market St and Beaumont St.

The scheme aims to bring a boost to the town centre and help it adapt to changing consumer habits.  The funding can be used to regenerate disused or underused buildings, if approved the zone will; 
  • Repurpose and bring vacant and ‘at risk’ historic properties back into use introducing a grant scheme to help businesses with costs 
  • Deliver streetscape and environment improvement works to make the town centre more attractive as a place to live, work and visit 
  • Support activities which engage the community and visitors including events that bring the town’s rich history to life

The application has been developed in partnership with Hexham Town Council and Hexham Community Partnership through the ‘Hexham Hub’ Town Forum and is backed by a wide range of community and business stakeholders.

A decision on Hexham’s expression of interest submission is anticipated in September. If successful this leads into a programme design phase later this year involving engagement with the local community and businesses. If the application is successful it could see a full scheme introduced from April 2020 for four years.

Cabinet member for Economic Development, Councillor Richard Wearmouth, said: “We are delighted to be progressing a significant proposal for Hexham capitalising on its rich history and heritage. I look forward to working with partners to bring these plans to fruition.”

Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism, and County Councillor for Hexham East, said: “I’m excited about the proposal to create a High Street Heritage Action Zone for Hexham that can really benefit residents, businesses and visitors alike.  This is a great opportunity to work collaboratively to enhance our wonderful town.”

Bob Hull, Mayor of Hexham said: “I’m pleased that this major proposal reflects the draft Hexham Neighbourhood Plan which calls for heritage-led economic regeneration for the town. 

“We will work closely with partners to boost the future prospects for the town centre.”

Peter Rodger, Chair of the Hexham Community Partnership, added: “An important role of the Partnership has been to make Hexham a good place for residents, businesses and visitors alike to live, work and play. 

“We believe that the town centre regeneration is central to this and have worked closely with the town and county councils to prepare an exciting and compelling case for the success of this proposal.”
 
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